Slaughterhouse 5 Violence as an Element of Conflict and Resolution

Topics: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Bombing of Dresden in World War II Pages: 4 (1481 words) Published: September 15, 2013
Q: It is often argued that violence in texts is overdone and unnecessary, but can also be regarded as an element of conflict and resolution.

Many literary texts glorify violence and war, presenting it as a noble and heroic cause, which for readers creates and exciting, fulfilling plot. In Slaughterhouse 5, the author Kurt Vonnegut uses atypical methods of presenting violence in the novel, which becomes important in the conveyance of the novels ideas. Vonnegut, although incorporating violence into the novel (It is a book about war after all), he understates it to shocking effect, and neglects to provide a traditional or intelligent resolution. His portrayal of certain key characters, such as Billy Pilgrim, Edgar Derby, the scouts, and the hobo, works together to convey the novels overall antiwar message, by using an atypical presentation of violence that shows us that the romance of war is false, and nobody wins in war. The Character of Edgar Derby in the novel is used to remove the so called “Romance of war,” through the understatement of the violence of his death. Edgar Derby was a high school teacher, who was captured by the Germans along with Billy Pilgrim in 1943, and survived the bombing of Dresden with Billy Pilgrim in a slaughterhouse’s underground meat safe. In the first chapter, when Vonnegut places himself in the story by discussing the narrative and making himself a background character, and establishing his representative relationship with Pilgrim, he discusses the death of Edgar Derby as the climax of the novel. Yet when we reach this “climax,” in the last few pages of the novel, all the reader is given is “Edgar Derby, was caught with a teapot he had taken from the catacombs. He was arrested for plundering. He was tried and shot. So it goes.” This understatement of a central characters passing works as more of an anti-climax than a climax. This shocking understatement of seems emotionless and apathetic, and the authors use of the short bland...
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